Busy in Bean Town …

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Boston from above. Pic Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

BOSTON isn’t the biggest city on America’s east coast – and it’s certainly not the most famous – but the Massachusetts capital is punching above its weight thanks to a huge dose of history, world-famous university and sports teams, likable neighbourhoods, lots of great places to eat and drink, and tonnes of charm.

The city’s been on the map for almost 400 years but there’s still loads going on.

See

Boston is a city of colourful neighbourhoods and while Hollywood has made Charlestown and South Boston famous – think Ben Affleck in The Town and Jack Nicholson in The Departed – there’s more to these suburbs than gangsters.

North End is Boston’s Little Italy and home to a large portion of The Freedom Trail (thefreedomtrail.org) – a 4km walking route, identified by a red line on the footpath, passing 16 historical sites – with Regina Pizzeria (11 1/2 Thacher St; reginapizzeria.com) serving slices since 1926 and Modern Pastry (257 Hanover St; modernpastry.com) the address for a sweet treat.

Wander Back Bay to see elegant architecture, browse shops on Boylston St, malls at Prudential Centre (800 Boylston St; prudentialcenter.com) or Copley Place (100 Huntington Ave).

You can also take in the view from SkyWalk (skywalkboston.com), and visit the Boston Public Library (700 Boylston St; bpl.org).

Cross the Charles River to Cambridge and explore Harvard University (harvard.edu) on a student-guided tour, see Old Cambridge with the Cambridge Tourism (cambridgeusa.org) app leading the way, or call into the innovative Harvard Art Museums (32 Quincy St, Cambridge; harvardart museums.org) which opened in late 2014.

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A Harvard student leads a tour around his university. Pic Sarah Nicholson

Stay

Literally dozens of hotels will launch around Boston in the next few years with more than 3000 new guest rooms added to the city’s inventory before the end of 2017.

Envoy Hotel (70 Sleeper St; marriott.com) is a Marriott Autograph Collection property almost ready to open in Fort Point, while The Godfrey Hotel (505 Washington St; godfreyhotelboston.com) will occupy the top floors of the historic Blake Building when unveiled in October.

Many established hotels are also under renovation with work almost complete on Hotel Commonwealth (500 Commonwealth Ave; hotelcommonwealth.com), Boston Park Plaza (50 Park Plaza at Arlington St; bostonparkplaza.com), and Boston Marriott Copley Square (110 Huntington Ave; marriott.com).

Shop

The Outlets at Assembly Row (100 Foley St, Somerville; assemblyrow.com) opened last May and has already become the city’s favourite shopping precinct with the “outlet mall’’ home to a slew of high-street brands offering discount prices.

The Boston Public Market (136 Blackstone St; bostonpublicmarket.org) is set for a July introduction with vendors and permanent stalls letting visitors buy direct from local farmers, fisherman and wine makers.

Eat

An assortment of new eateries appeared around Boston in 2014 with King Street Tavern (1 Court St; ameshotel.com) located in the Ames Boston Hotel, Bastille Kitchen (49 Melcher St; bastillekitchen.net), and Legal Oysteria (10 City Square, Charlestown; legalseafoods.com) a selection.

MAST’ Restaurant and Drinkery (45 Province St; mastboston.com) opened in November to serve “a modern take on authentic Neapolitan street food’’ with a menu adopting a Boston twist and drawing inspiration for southern Italian, Spanish and Greek cuisine.

Insider tip

“There has been an explosion of dining, nightlife and arts along Boston’s waterfront Seaport District with the Institute of Contemporary Art (100 Northern Ave; icaboston.org) and more than a dozen new restaurants, bars and lounges putting the city on the map,’’ explains David Canas, head concierge at The Langham Boston (250 Franklin St; langhamhotels.com).

“The restaurant scene throughout Boston is rapidly growing as well with acclaimed eateries opening all over including Row 34 (383 Congress St; row34.com), Menton (354 Congress St; mentonboston.com), Liquid Art House (100 Arlington St; liquidarthouse.com), Alden & Harlow (40 Brattle St, Cambridge; aldenharlow.com), Bar Boulud (776 Boylston St; barboulud.com), Asta (47 Massachusetts Ave; astaboston.com) and Ostra (1 Charles St; ostraboston.com).”

Getting there

Cathay Pacific (cathaypacific.com) will launch four flights a week between Hong Kong and Boston on May 2 with a Boeing 777-300ER in a four-class configuration — a “refreshed’’ first class as well as business, premium economy and economy cabins — flying the new route. Boston will be Cathay’s sixth port in the US and eighth in North America with flights to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Newark, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver already on the schedule.

Boston Beacon Hill
A Boston lane. Pic Massachusetts Office of Travel  Tourism

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 THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN ESCAPE ON SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2015

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